Sunday, April 04, 2004

The Lighthouse Look

Now that I know about it, I consider it a miracle I ever managed to peel myself off the wallpaper.
Naturally shy (yes, really) I have been forced to rely on guts and gumption to propel myself into social situations - situations I would much rather have observed from the comfort of a wallflower's customary corner. But 'twas not to be. My particular upbringing necessitated the development of an outgoing, cheery personality; as a chronic new girl at school, it was socialize or be pulverized, and I rapidly learned the requisite smile and forward propulsion I would need in order to find some sort of fit.
17 schools in 12 years - and each one of them an exercise in going against the nature I was born with. (Sniff, sniffle, honk... sniffle...hooonnnkk.) I'm still pretty good at it - and I still hate it like fury; my happiest moments will likely always be spent quietly in the non-threatening company of someone I know well. Or me - someone who still remains a bit of a mystery...
But wait - all these thoughts belong to the old me; the one who hadn't heard the answer... the one who lived until very recently in ignorance of 'The Lighthouse Look'.
My newspaper of record reported yesterday the story of a woman with the highly coquettish-sounding name of Tina Santi Flaherty (just saying it out loud feels like a flirtation) who divulges the secret of 'The Lighthouse Look' in her new book What Jackie Taught Us: Lessons From the Remarkable Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
This latest intrusion into the lives of the tragedy-stalked family, a tome purporting to provide insights into Kennedy Onassis's hardwon privacy, is scheduled to be released this Tuesday - roughly timed to coincide with the anniversary of her death from cancer (classy, eh?) back in May of 1994.
(Was it really ten years ago? Geez - it seems like yesterday; perhaps it's because of the near constant round of autobiographies, perspectives, television specials, museum shows, and tours of her dresses - blood-spattered and otherwise - furniture, and even fake pearls that the 'they's' have promoted non-stop ever since.)
Flaherty (or should it be Santi Flaherty? Are you coming on to me?) plumbs the well of knowledge she would have soaked up as Jacquie's next door neighbour for a few years (!) to bring us the gems of wisdom the reclusive widow reportedly learned at the feet of her infamously charming father and all round raffish cad, 'Black Jack' Bouvier.
Bouvier is said to have used all his legendary prowess to coach his daughter in the art of attracting attention - the right sort, natch - with a style that has come to be known as 'The Lighthouse Look'.
But save your $30 - actually the immediate sale price is $21, after the ubiquitous 30% saving. (Why must we be tortured with this irritating sales technique?)
I'll tell you all you need to know.
It's simple: walk into the centre of a room with a wall to wall grin plastered maniacally on your face, being careful not to drop your chin or let your shifty eyes shift from side to side... And just stand there, absolutely silent, spectacularly compelling, beaming like a lighthouse in the fog, until someone - everyone - is drawn to you, responding rapturously to your shiny Goddess-like room entering skills.
Who knew it was so easy?
But no cheating; no darting anguished glances at familiar faces, or silently imploring the host or even a waiter to break into your ice sculpture act; if you do 'The Lighthouse Look' properly you will be noticed and you will be approached. You will be spectacular.
You'll never need to resort to any low class behaviour - no entering a room with quiet grace, adopting a look of curious interest, glancing about, seeking a friendly face, or person of some small acquaintance, then responding with a smile that recognizing them has naturally created within your person. No. Such is the act of the loser - that hopeless nobody who needs to rely on a naturally friendly mien and a certain amount of healthy openness in order to make a favourable impression.
So this is to be my new M.O. - thanks to Tina Santi (is that your hand on my knee?) Flaherty, I will now sally forth, fully equipped with a studied look of mindless superiority, careful to attend social opportunities set in rooms large enough that standing silently in the centre of them will elicit gasps of approval, rather than suspicions of narcolepsy.
My only fear now is the lack of commitment and authority my reticent nature is likely to bring to the venture. Can I do it? Will I be successful in achieving 'The Look', or will Santi (thank you , but no - you're just not my type) Flaherty render me foolish - forever looked upon not as a Jacquie-like Lighthouse, but seen instead as a spectacularly dim bulb?

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